The best thing about film festivals is that you get to see cool movies. The worst thing about film festivals is that you tell people about all the cool movies you saw and then they don’t come out for months or years afterwards (if at all), well after everyone’s forgotten about them. Well, to refresh your memory, I saw April and the Extraordinary World at last year’s Fantastic Fest and thought it was pretty great.
April and the Extraordinary World is set in an alternate history version of 1941, where Napoleon’s heirs still rule France, the world’s most famous scientists have gone missing, and coal and steam power a sooty police state where empires fight each other over control of timber.
Yes, you could probably call it “steampunk.” I call it a whacked-out combination of Tintin, Miyazaki, and Terry Gilliam, with a typically French flair for slapstick (which, in April and the Extraordinary World, totally works).
The version I saw was French with subtitles, but today we have a trailer for the English version, featuring voice work by Paul Giamatti, Tony Hale, Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons. Normally I’d say everything should be seen in its native language, but with animation where the mouth-sync isn’t as noticeable and you can just bring in Oscar-caliber actors to redo everything, the dubbing probably isn’t such a bad thing.
That said, I can’t say the same for the trailer, which looks like an incomprehensible mess of sh*t, interspersed by characters shouting important dialogue like “quick!” “papa!” and “arrghhhhhhh!” I realize that the alternate history plot, where Napoleon’s family still rules and internal combustion was never invented, might be a little hard to explain in a trailer, but… they could’ve at least tried. This looks like someone said, “Who’s this trailer for? Americans? Just cut together a bunch of sh*t blowing up and people yelling.”
Ztupeed Americain, zey could nevair apreciate zomezing zo sopheesteecay ted, like zee steamponk, or zee cat oo talk, ho ho ho!
Anyway, the movie itself is pretty good, I promise. It hits New York this weekend, and expands to less cool places throughout April.